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Komen to auction “record breaking shoes” for conservation efforts

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s 3,000m world record holder said on Wednesday he will auction the spikes he used to break the record that has stood for 18 years in a bid to conserve water towers.

Daniel Komen, the Kenyan who set the world mark in the distance in 1996 in Rieti, Italy while aged 21, said in Nairobi that he will donate the shoes for auction in the U.S. to raise money to conserve Kenya’s Tana River water towers.

“The shoes I ran in when I set the world record can fetch a lot of money when auctioned, especially in Atlanta, the headquarters of Coca Cola Company, which is spearheading conservation efforts of the water towers,” Komen said when the beverage company presented a donation of 150,000 U.S. dollars for the management of the water shed.

Komen, who is the Goodwill Ambassador for Nairobi Water Fund, and who out of the limelight now runs a private school with his wife Joyce, said he will also implore the school board to make a worthy contribution towards the same cause.

The former middle-and long-distance runner whose time of 7:20. 67 has stood the test of time also insinuated that his world record is not likely to be broken any time soon.

“The only other person who could have done so was Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj whose attempt at the mark yielded a modest 7:23. 00 to make him the second fastest man at the distance. However, that is all gone and the record still stands,” Komen said.

Komen, who is remembered for his rivalry with Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, had his most notable achievements in a two-year period between 1996 and 1998, during which he broke a string of world records.

He also holds the world record in the 3,000m indoors which he set in 1998 in a time of 7:24.90.

In addition to his world record in the 2-mile race that he set in 1997, Komen remains the only man in history to run back-to-back sub-four-minute miles.

Susan Mboya, President of the Coca Cola Africa Foundation who presented the cheque to the Nature Conservancy for the preservation efforts, said the donation will help to catalyze tangible improvements in the quality and quantity of water available to downstream users from a basin that is indispensable for Kenya’s domestic ad industrial needs.



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